It’s the time of year to celebrate love, and I’ve been thinking about how much my life has been enriched by the love of family and friends, the people I’ve been given to walk with me. It’s been a great privilege to share my life in this giving and receiving.
One group of people who have brought unexpected joy are the group of people who attend our Friendship group. In seeing them live their lives with little pretense, we too have been encouraged to abandon many of society’s false values. They have varying disabilities that sometimes affect their ability to communicate, but they contribute by their very presence.
I’ve been listening to Jean Vanier’s Massey lectures given way back in 1998, which are still available on CBC archives. It was a bold commitment when he took in two men with profound disabilities from the asylum, calling his home L’Arche, learning to live together in community. Many others eventually joined him in creating these homes around the world. In celebrating the lives of these people who the world often viewed as of little consequence, we celebrate our own true worth, accept our own limitations, live into our own humanity. And gain the confidence to contribute ourselves.
It was in the context of Friendship Club that we would plan games which sometimes included old proverbs and riddles. It was striking how often lyric and ancient wisdom emerged from some place of common ground we all share. So, to celebrate Valentine’s one year, I put together little rhyming couplets that they were invited to complete. You are invited to use them if you have any context where they would be enjoyed.
A Valentine Poem
This is a poem, all about love,
Which first of all came to us from above.
Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you,
It’s not who you are, and it’s not what you do.
When I felt that love, the first thing I knew
Is that I wanted to share it too.
God loves us, and helps us love others.
Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.
There’s a special love we have for a friend,
And we hope that our friendship never will end.
Now I want to take a moment, to tarry,
To talk of a day in the middle of February.
On this day, I write my love a Valentine
And on it I ask, will you be mine?
My sweetheart’s special, and sometimes handy,
So to say I love you, I buy some candy.
Or maybe buy roses, though greatly I fear,
The price has not been higher all year.
I go to the store, and search long and hard,
Through the racks to find the perfect card.
It has to say what I feel, but not be too mushy,
Not too sappy, but still lovey-dovey.
I can be smart, but love makes me stupid
Is it my fault when the arrow’s shot by Cupid?
And it’s all worthwhile when it ends in such bliss
Sweeter than honey is my Valentine’s kiss.